What Is Audiology?


The definition of audiology is that it is the science of hearing, balance, and related disorders. It comes from the Latin word audīre, which means “to hear.” Another definition of audiology is that it encompasses the wide range of services audiologists provide. These healthcare experts specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing hearing and balance disorders for all age groups, from newborns to seniors. So, what is audiology? The primary audiological services include:


  • Hearing Evaluations: Audiologists conduct comprehensive tests, such as pure tone and speech audiometry, along with tympanometry, to assess hearing capabilities.
  • Hearing Aid Services: They assist in selecting and fitting suitable hearing aids, offering guidance on their use and maintenance.
  • Balance Assessments: The Romberg test and gait analysis methods evaluate the balance function.
  • Tinnitus Management: Audiologists provide counseling and treatment options for those experiencing tinnitus characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation: This service helps individuals with balance disorders improve their coordination and stability.
  • Cochlear Implant Programming: For severe hearing loss, audiologists program cochlear implants, devices that stimulate the auditory nerve.


Audiologists play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for people with hearing and balance issues. Consulting with an audiologist or doctor is advisable if you’re experiencing difficulties in these areas.


What Do Audiologists Do?


Audiologists are highly trained healthcare professionals who manage and treat hearing and balance disorders. Their work spans all age groups, aiming to enhance patients’ quality of life and communication.


Essential Services Provided by Audiologists


  • Hearing Aid Services: They select, fit, and dispense hearing aids and assistive listening devices tailored to each patient’s needs.
  • Prevention of Hearing Loss: Audiologists offer protective hearing devices and educate on the effects of noise, playing a pivotal role in preventing hearing damage.
  • Research Contribution: Actively engaged in research, they strive to advance the prevention, identification, and management of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders.


What Is Audiology? It’s Comprehensive Hearing Management


When thinking about what do audiologists do, understand that they handle comprehensive hearing management for their patients. They conduct a wide range of evaluations and treatments, including:


  • Hearing, balance, and tinnitus disorder assessment and management.
  • Balance disorder diagnosis and treatment, utilizing various tests and therapies.
  • Hearing screenings and examinations to determine the presence and extent of hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus Management: They provide strategies and advice for managing tinnitus, a common patient issue.
  • Customized Hearing Aid Fitting: Audiologists ensure hearing aids are ideally suited to each person’s unique hearing profile.
  • Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Programming: Audiologists skillfully customize hearing devices to optimize hearing for each patient.
  • Educational and Counseling Role: They educate patients about hearing and balance disorders, offering counseling to help them understand and manage their conditions.


Additionally, audiologists work alongside ENT doctors, neurologists, and speech-language pathologists to provide comprehensive care. Their involvement in research and clinical trials is essential in advancing audiology and improving treatment techniques and technologies. The dedication and expertise of audiologists are crucial in enhancing hearing and balance, significantly impacting their patients’ well-being and communication abilities.

Foam letters spell out “audiology tests” on a table.

What Is Audiology? Comprehensive Audiology Tests


Part of the definition of audiology is diagnosing hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists employ a range of tests to diagnose and manage hearing and balance disorders, tailoring the testing approach to each individual’s symptoms and suspected conditions. These tests are vital in determining the nature and extent of auditory and balance issues.


Common Audiological Tests:


  • Pure Tone Audiometry: This fundamental test assesses the ability to hear various tones at different pitches and volumes, which is crucial for diagnosing hearing loss and its severity.
  • Speech Audiometry: It evaluates how well a person understands speech in noisy environments, assessing the impact of hearing loss on communication and fitting hearing aids.
  • Tympanometry: This test examines the eardrum and middle ear function, helping to diagnose middle ear disorders and eliminate other causes of hearing loss.
  • Acoustic Reflex Testing: Measuring muscle contraction in the middle ear in response to sound assesses middle ear function and helps rule out certain neurological conditions.
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs): This test evaluates the sound produced by outer hair cells in the cochlea, aiding in assessing inner ear function and diagnosing specific hearing loss types.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): It measures the auditory nerve’s ability to transmit sound to the brain, which is essential for assessing auditory brainstem function and diagnosing neurological conditions.
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMPs): This test assesses the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance. The test diagnoses balance disorders.
  • Bone Conduction Testing: Determines if hearing loss is due to blockages or sensory cell issues.


General Info About Audiology Tests


Audiology tests are typically painless and non-invasive, ensuring a comfortable patient experience. These tests happen in a soundproof room, where the audiologist guides patients through each procedure with clear instructions. After the tests, results are thoroughly discussed with the patient to ensure understanding and clarity. Not every test is necessary for each individual or situation; the selection of tests meets each patient’s specific needs and circumstances.


Audiological testing is critical in diagnosing and managing hearing and balance disorders. If you have concerns about your hearing or balance, consult an audiologist or doctor about the appropriateness of these tests.


What Do Audiologists Do That Affects Your Quality of Life?


Audiology significantly influences various aspects of daily life, especially for those with hearing loss, balance problems, or tinnitus. By enhancing hearing and communication abilities, audiology can markedly improve the quality of life across different areas:


Communication and Social Engagement:

Improved hearing allows for clearer conversations, fostering better social interactions and participation in gatherings. This leads to a richer social life and reduced feelings of isolation. Audiology plays a central role in maintaining and enhancing social connections by enabling more effective communication, which is crucial for emotional well-being.


Educational and Professional Advancement:

For students, effective audiology services can greatly impact learning and academic success. Addressing hearing issues helps in understanding lessons and actively participating in class discussions. In the workplace, better hearing aids in communication with colleagues and clients, potentially leading to career growth and job satisfaction.


Safety and Environmental Awareness:

Enhanced hearing through audiology increases awareness of environmental sounds, such as traffic, alarms, and other crucial auditory signals. This heightened perception is vital in personal safety and navigating daily activities.


Mental Health and Cognitive Benefits:

Addressing hearing issues can combat social isolation, a common consequence of hearing loss. By reconnecting individuals with their community, audiology contributes to improved mental health. Furthermore, research indicates that treating hearing loss can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, thereby promoting long-term brain health.


Leisure and Recreation:

Audiology enhances the enjoyment of leisure activities and hobbies. Whether it’s appreciating music, attending live events, or engaging in outdoor activities, better hearing enriches these experiences, adding to life’s pleasures.


Overall Quality of Life


Ultimately, audiology plays a pivotal role in improving life satisfaction. Addressing hearing and balance concerns positively impacts communication skills, emotional health, and general happiness. Audiology is a critical field that touches many facets of life, enhancing everything from personal interactions and safety to professional success and mental well-being. If you’re experiencing issues related to hearing or balance, consulting with an audiologist or doctor can be a crucial step towards a better, more fulfilling life.


Prepare for holidays with hearing aids by contacting your local audiologist. 

Hands hold a 3-D model of the outer and inner ears.

What Do Audiologists Do About Common Conditions?


Audiologists play a vital role in diagnosing and treating various hearing and balance disorders, which can arise from many causes. One of the major disorders audiologists handle is hearing loss. 


Common Hearing Loss Causes Addressed by Audiologists:


  • Age-Related Hearing Loss: A natural decline in hearing ability due to aging.
  • Congenital Hearing Loss: Hearing impairment present at birth, possibly due to genetic factors or conditions in the womb.
  • Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Caused by exposure to loud noises in work or recreational environments.
  • Ototoxicity: Hearing damage resulting from certain medications or chemicals.
  • Middle Ear Issues: Damage to the middle ear’s ossicles (tiny bones)
  • Ear infections: Issues like earwax buildup, persistent fluid in the ear post-infection, and scarring from repeated ear infections.


Discover more about ototoxic medications


What Is Audiology? Symptoms of Audiologic Conditions:


Hearing loss can manifest in various ways, including:


  • Difficulty hearing or discriminating speech.
  • Sensitivity to specific sounds or perceiving them as overly loud.
  • Challenges in following conversations, especially in noisy areas or with multiple people talking.
  • Difficulty distinguishing high-pitched sounds, often leading to trouble understanding women’s voices compared to men’s.
  • Experiencing muffled or slurred speech.
  • Ringing, hissing, whistling, buzzing, or thumping sounds in the ears are known as tinnitus.
  • Sound sensitivity, leading to discomfort or pain.


These symptoms can significantly impact a person’s ability to communicate, often leading to social withdrawal, anxiety, irritability, and even depression.


Explore more about the types of tinnitus and how they affect your life. 


Audiologists address these diverse conditions through a variety of diagnostic and treatment approaches. They play a crucial role in enhancing patients’ quality of life, helping them to manage and overcome the challenges associated with hearing and balance disorders.

An audiologist tests a man’s hearing levels in her office.

What Is Audiology? Find Out at American Hearing + Audiology


Audiology is an extensive field that profoundly influences many aspects of daily life, particularly those dealing with hearing loss, balance issues, or tinnitus. Audiologists, with their specialized skills and knowledge, play a pivotal role in enhancing communication, social engagement, educational and professional success, as well as overall mental and cognitive health. 


Remember, audiology is not just about treating hearing and balance disorders; it’s about enhancing the quality of life and helping individuals lead more fulfilling and connected lives. If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing or balance difficulties, American Hearing + Audiology is here to assist you. Our dedicated audiologists are committed to providing the highest quality of care. We’re ready to help you on your journey to better hearing and a more fulfilling life.